Roberto Mancini believes Mario Balotelli still has an Italy future, but warns he must settle down and prove himself on the pitch.
The Milan forward has come in for criticism following the Azzurri’s World Cup exit, with the suggestion that his international career may be stalled as a consequence.
However, in opening himself up for candidacy to the vacant Italy CT post, Mancini has hinted at another reunion with Balotelli.
“He is a good guy, he has a good soul and I love him, but he must understand that time passes for all and at 24 [in August], he cannot lose any more time,” the Coach, who has worked with Balo at Inter and Manchester City before, has urged to the Corriere dello Sport.
“That said, he cannot be responsible for the collapse of the national team - two years ago he took us the European Championship Final.
“So I say that he is a great player who may have made some mistakes in the game. It happens to everyone. Balotelli needs to understand that he should always train well, concentrate, live a healthy life. In this sense, marriage should help.
“I have read that he is engaged and this may be a turning point. He is an asset of Italian football and should be helped.
“Certainly he is one from who we can restart with, provided that he proves his value on the field.
“In the national team it needs to be on merit, not for other reasons.”